I've been playing with PostRank. They use an algorithm to analyse which posts have got the most 'engagement' from a particular RSS source. The good thing about this is that it gets over some of my reservations in previous posts about the use of metrics to measure your blog value. These are often relative to everyone else, so as with Technorati, you'll get lumped in with professional blogs. PostRank tells you about the engagement relative to your own posts. This is potentially useful, as it tells you, and more importantly, the reader which posts have generated feedback. They measure engagement not just by back links, as Technorati does, but by a range of interactions eg. by delicious links, comments and Twitter links. This gives you a much better idea of the type of interaction posts are generating. My top posts are shown in the widget over on the left.
You can then filter the results by a key word, eg Twitter will show you my posts relating to a certain micro-blogging tool, ranked through PostRank. This double layer of filtering (term plus engagement ranking), has some potential to act as course content I feel.
Let's take an example: You create an aggregated feed of many RSS sources, eg using RSSmixer I created this one of UK edubloggers. You could then get PostRank to analyse this (although there seems to be a problem with doing this at the moment, the PostRank team are looking into it). Or, you use PostRank and in Feed Details you add in each source. You then need to add a tag eg edublog and click Create New. This adds it into your Channels in PostRank. As you add each feed in, you can set it to analyse 'Great', 'Good', 'Best' or 'All'. You can then export this as an OPML file to display. Here are the 'Best' posts from some UK edublogs in Grazr:
This is all a bit fiddly though. What I want to be able to do is for me (as educator) to set up a range of channels for a course (eg UK edubloggers, global edubloggers, media blogs, library feeds, etc). The student can then use these as the basis for their course content. For example, say I ask them to discuss the Research Assessment Exercise they can filter by RAE in the UK blogs.
The point of this, over just using Google say, is that allows educators to have some input by selecting the best RSS resources, and these are then filtered. A course then becomes a sequence of activities that relies on these sources, but does not need to generate the content itself. So, any chance PostRank team that we can do this?